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 Inspiring true leadership
     nspiring passionate leadership so that those in   kinds of issues did not always exist, she said.          couch discussions with leaders such as Mac Ma-
     top positions in local government embrace their      JF “Boeboe” van Wyk, from the Northern Cape           haraj and Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool
     work with a new and fresh commitment was          said local government needed “strong, seasoned           priovided food for thought.
the motivation of the Governance Summer School         leaders” to facilitate development.                         “Our mission with the GSS is to encourage great
(GSS), held in Somerset West in March 2008.               “We need to develop expertise and, in the case        thinking and ingenuity among our leaders,” says
   Before the event, Western Cape Head of Depart-      of the Northern Cape, we need to retain these ex-        Majiet, “I am looking forward to seeing how par-
ment for Local Government and Housing, Shanaaz         pertise.                                                 ticipants engage with the process and embrace key
Majiet, said she wanted those municipal leaders           Tutu Ralane, chair of Parliament’s select com-        new lessons into their leadership practice.”
attending the GSS to leave with a strong feeling       mittee on finance, kept the the GSS delegates               Majiet confirmed that the summer school will be
of commitment to serve ordinary people with pas-       firmly rooted in reality when he said there must         an annual event.
sion.                                                  be dialogue between departments within a prov-              “This is a major learning and networking time
    If the comments and enthusiasm of delegates was    ince before too much was made of inter-provincial        for municipal leadership structures in the three
anything to go by, this aim was certainly achieved     initiatives or else service delivery could be compro-    provinces. There is so much wisdom across these
during the five day summer school. Feedback was        mised.                                                   areas and it is time to capitalise on this through
all positive, with people using words like “informa-      Ralane’s speech, the last in a line of dignitaries,   workshops, dialogue and presentations.”
tive”, “energising” and “thought-provoking” to de-     tempered the ebullience of the pioneer inter-pro-
scribe the conference.                                 vincial Governance Summer School, reminding lo-
   “Great leadership relies on deep self awareness     cal government leaders that there are real challenges
and emotional maturity,” Majiet said, “the Summer      facing service delivery in South Africa.
School aims to build on this by encouraging reflec-       Nevertheless, the three MEC’s all voiced their
tion and an understanding of the responsibilities      enthusiasm for the initiative. In coming years, they
of being in a managerial position in local govern-     said, it is hoped the conversations started at the
ment.”                                                 Governance Summer School will see a sharing of
   The GSS is an initiative of Western Cape MEC        skills and ideas as provinces grapple with issues re-
for Local Government and Housing, Qubudile Ri-         lating to service delivery.
chard Dyantyi and, for the first time ever, involves      Lechesa Tsenoli, chair of the
traditional authorities and local government leaders   portfolio committee on lo-
from three provinces, the Northern, Eastern and        cal government said the
Western Cape.                                          inter-provincial effort
   As Dyantyi commented at the opening function        was an “historical” mo-
for the GSS, local government leaders should “look     ment in that is crossed
to each other to find solutions to common prob-        both political and ad-
lems.                                                  ministrative boundaries.
   The first inter-provincial Governance Summer           The GSS programme
School was an ideal platform for sharing ideas, her-   focused on leadership
alding a new era of inter-governmental relations,      development, looking
he said.                                               at areas of best practise
   Toko Xasa, Eastern Cape MEC for local govern-       as well as giving del-
ment, housing and tribal authorities agreed. She       egates a chance to grap-
said inter-provincial co-operation would open in-      ple with problems in a
visible borders enabling local government leaders to   series of workshops.
learn from and share solutions with each other on         Documentary          films
common issues.                                         added to the learning
   The strong leadership needed to deal with these     process, while on-the-

                                                                                                                      ro in eo e
                                                                                                                     P v c fth

                                                                                                                     EASTERN CAPE
                                      Praise from the Minister
                                               overnment, local, provincial and national, will act   Single Public Service (SPS) legislation that we hope will be
                                               audaciously and unusually in striving to improve      passed by parliament as early as November this year.”
                                               and accelerate service delivery through improved         Announced during President Thabo Mbeki’s State of
                                     leadership and management.                                      the Nation address in 2007, the SPS legislation seeks to
                                        These were the words of Minister of Public Service           centralise the public service sector so as to better respond
                                     Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi’, speaking via live video link        to the public’s demand for various government services.
                                     from her offices in Tshwane, was pleased with progress          Service delivery, says Fraser-Moleketi, is key to the SPS.
Anthony Ewerts                       made so far in the national government’s plans to improve          “What we want to achieve is government being able to

                                     service delivery across the country, but was the first to       present a single-face to its citizens,” she explained, “and
                                     admit that plenty still needs to be done and that strong        being able to guarantee all of its citizens experience the
                                     leadership and competent management were key to                 same-level of service delivery across all three spheres of

 municipal                           meeting their objectives.
                                        “Our goal is to improve access to government services
                                     for all our citizens, no matter where they are,” she said.
                                                                                                     government – local, provincial and national.”
                                                                                                        It is the level of service delivery, however, that many
                                                                                                     claim needs to be improved and Fraser-Moleketi agrees

challenges                           “We’re focusing on a people-centred approach and for
                                     it to work we need strong and capable professionals in
                                     leadership positions to drive this policy.”
                                                                                                     wholeheartedly, saying that improving this area of
                                                                                                     government was the main reason behind the proposed
                                                                                                     SPS legislation.
Sipho Sebusho, from the                 She applauded the efforts of the Western Cape, Eastern          “Our public service works under the motto “we belong,
Kgalagadi District Municipality      Cape and Northern Cape provincial governments for               we serve, we care” which is wonderful in theory but in
in the Northern Cape, said the       having the foresight in organising to get together at the       practice our public service remains generally unfriendly
biggest challenge facing his local   GSS in an attempt to improve inter-provincial working           towards South African citizens.
government was the backlog in        relationships, adding that she hopes all the other provinces       “A lot of the time public servants continue to act as if
housing and infrastructure.          follow suit.                                                    they are doing the public a favour and that is a mindset we
“Our local government is in             “It is vitally important that our provinces – and even       have to change.
former Bophuthatswana,” he           our local municipalities – learn to work together to solve         “Whether one is an elected official or an appointed
says, “poverty and unemployment      problems,” she said, “especially in light of the proposed       official, it is our job to serve.”
are major factors.”
Sebusho said there was a need

                                     Co-operation in action
to clarify the roles of local
government leaders who often
became “too involved” when
they needed to spend more time

looking at the “bigger picture”.        n an example of co-operation in           “For the first time in our country      the European Union,” he said, “and
Nomonde Dyani from the Great            action, the Western and Eastern         one province will be able to say they     the Northern Cape’s are lower.”
Kei Municipality in the Eastern      Cape provincial governments used           do not have a housing problem,”               His statement was meet with cheers
Cape, said the communities           the forum of the GSS to announce           Dyantyi said.                             and clapping from Northern Cape
her local government served          their intention to give a once-off           Dyantyi said other projects could       local government leaders.
were being held up by poor           cash-injection from their budgets to       be identified in future where the three       Renita Soodeyal, executive manager
infrastructure.                      the Northern Cape to help end its          provinces could help each other.          for housing with the Northern Cape’s
“We live in a beautiful part         housing backlog.                             Northern Cape Local Government          Department of Housing and Local
of South Africa that has great          Western Cape MEC for Local Gov-         and Housing MEC JF “Boeboe” van           Government, said the province
tourism potential but the roads      ernment and Housing, Qubudile              Wyk said the cash injection meant          should be held up as an example of
are terrible and water and           Richard Dyantyi, made the                     there was a good chance that                 “best practise” to the rest of the
sanitation infrastructure are        announcement in his opening                                                                country.
insufficient.”                       presentation.                                                                                 “It’s hats off the South African
Poverty alleviation would come          “We are looking at enough funds                                                    Police Services,” she said, “they are
with infrastructure development      for between 15 000 to 20 000                                                          vigilant and visible in the Northern
as the areas around Komga,           houses,” he said in an interview                                                      Cape and this is paying off.”
Chintsa, Hagga Hagga and             afterwards.                                                                               Kagisho Ositang, from the
Kei Mouth attracted growing             “We will not take money away                                                        Gamagara Local Municipality near
volumes of tourists.                 from housing in the Western                                                           Kuruman, said Dugmore’s statistics
Anthony Ewerts from the              Cape,” Dyantyi explained, “this                                                       “reinforce the idea that our province
Kannaland Municipality in the        will be money allocated from our                                                       is a tranquil and spiritual place where
Western Cape, were keen to use       provincial budget to the Northern                                                     people live more balanced lives”.
the GSS as an opportunity to         Cape towards its housing backlog.”                                                       Clement Itumeleng, also from
meet government leaders who             He said that too often housing                                                    Gamagara Local Municipality, said
can explain why worthwhile           backlogs were approached in a              the Northern         Cape would be        Dugmore’s statement proved that
job creation projects are often      “bietjie-bietjie” manner with no           able to would meet the national target    although people were poor they did
stonewalled by red tape.             inroads made into the backlog.             of eradicating informal settlements by    not automatically resort to crime.
“We have good ideas that never          Eastern Cape MEC for Local              2014.                                         “It immediately made me think of a
get off the ground because people    Government,         Housing        and        And this was not the only time         community like Pixley ka Sema (near
are worried about “vetplante”        Traditional Affairs, Toko Xasa, has        at the conference that the Northern       Colesburg) where strong leadership
and “klippies” (fossils),” said      also agreed to the initiative which has    Cape was the centre of attention.         and good co-ordination means social
Ewerts. He went on to say that       yet to be approved by the national            On Day 3 of the conference, Harry      problems like housing are being dealt
a municipality like Kannaland        Department of Finance.                     Dugmore, from the South African           with properly.”
needed “big development” to             Dyantyi said the idea had been          Presidency’s Policy Co-ordination             Ositang also pointed out that
boost earnings of local residents    discussed among Western Cape MECs          and Advisory Services, told delegates     Northern Cape people were not
enabling them to pay rates.          who understood that the housing            that the Northern Cape could              people who stood waiting for
“This way we won’t have to go to     backlog in the Northern Cape could         compare with the safest countries in      government hand-outs but were
government, cap in hand, asking      be wiped out with an extra push from       the world.                                proactively finding ways to earn their
for money,” he said.                 that province’s two neighbours.               “Spain has the lowest crime level in   livings.
           The formula for                                                                                                                          VOX POP

          good governance
             e have the skills, we have the knowledge, and         like making deals and building coalitions when dealing
             we have the framework to make the public              with problems.
             service work, all that is lacking is the spark and       Facilitator Sindisile Maclean emphasied the importance
that spark is leadership.                                          “collective leadership” and developing trust between
   Using the analogy of an ironmonger who has all the tools        political leaders and administrators.
but lacks that first spark to light the fire, facilitator David       “If you treat each other as colleagues instead of friends
Schmidt laid out the basic tenets of what constitutes good         the relationship works much more successfully,” he said.
leadership Schmidt got down to the nuts-and-bolts nitty-              Referring to the case study, which involved an enthusiastic
gritty of what makes a good leader and how to improve              but complacent municipal manager he emphasised the
               leadership skills, all the while reinforcing a      importance of consultation in decision-making processes.
                 constant theme that leadership is key to             “You must have buy in from stake-holders or else the
                   getting things done.                            process cannot go forward,” he said.                             Charles Ntiomi
                      This theme was carried through in               Sinazo Sibisi from the Development Bank of South Africa
                    the daily workshop sessions, where
                     delegates were divided into four
                     groups, each with a real-life municipal
                                                                   said she was impressed by the listening skills and interactive
                                                                   abilities of municipal leaders attending the workshops.
                                                                      “People began to struggle when they had to get to the
                       management challenge to tackle.
                           “Whether things happen or not
                             is almost always down to the
                                                                   heart of the problem. The approach needed to be more
                                                                   systematic with a critical analysis (that is the cause and
                                                                   effect) of each issue.”
                                    presence – or lack of
                                        strong leadership,”
                                                                      She said the tendency was to look for external influences
                                                                   with an emphasis on legislation and process rather than on        and hope
                                          Schmidt          said.   the role of the individual in the process.
                                           “Some people are           It was at this stage in the workshops that some delegates
                                           born with natural
                                           leadership ability
                                          but everyone can
                                                                   stopped attending the discussions.
                                                                      “What we need to understand about leadership is that
                                                                   you can’t give up, you are in it for the long haul.”
                                                                                                                                    P    umelelo Kate of the Makana
                                                                                                                                         Municipality in the Eastern
                                                                                                                                    Cape believes that the biggest
                                         learn to be a better         Each group had an opportunity to present an analysis
                                                                                                                                    problem facing the municipality
                                     leader. And all of us         of the problem they had tackled during the week and
will, at some stage or another, be called upon to take on          to explain how they, as local government leaders, would          is the provision of housing and in
some sort of leadership responsibilities.”                         resolve the issue.                                               a broader sense, service delivery.
   Distilling reams of research and thought on the matter,            Group 1’s example entitled “The Pressure Cooker”                 “We are experiencing a backlog
Schmidt spoke about the attributes of a good leader and            looked at issues relating to mistrust between politicians        in housing delivery,” he said.
how to improve one’s leadership skills by focusing on              and administrators and a municipal manager who could
                                                                                                                                       “We need the support of
those areas where one is weakest and by being open to              not handle conflict. The emphasis of their response was
new ideas.                                                         on building strong leadership and teams that could deliver       provincial and local government
   Unsurprisingly the outstanding leadership of former             while improving communication.                                   to overcome these challenges and
President Nelson Mandela was often referred to,                       Group 2 had a municipal manager and mayor at                  to ensure allocations for housing
especially in the all-important but oft-overlooked area            loggerheads coupled with deteriorating staff morale and          are provided timeously.”
of counter-intuitive wisdom.                                       a corrupt official. The response of this group was to help
                                                                                                                                       Charles Ntlomi of Breede
   “Good leaders, like former president Mandela, have              the mayor understand her leadership style and to rebuild
the counter-intuitive wisdom to recognise that the                 relationships at the top level. They also advised her to take    Valley Municipality identified
obvious or popular answer is often not an answer at all,”          a hard line with individuals who misused trust.                  the current issue with load
explained Schmidt.                                                    Group 3 outlined the challenges facing rural                  shedding as a major concern.
   “They recognise that change is often about changing             municipalities with complexities like difficult traditional      “We recently purchased a farm
the way people think. The good leader is able to inspire           leaders and the pressure for economic development pitted
the people with their vision; they are able to get the             against issues of sustainability.                                in the Rawsonville area,” he said,
people to see that change is necessary even though most               This group favoured asking the provincial government          illustrating one case in point.
people do not like change.                                         structures for help, improving training and asking the              “But now Eskom has told us to
   “A good leader not only implements change, but                  Development Bank of SA to assist with skills development         stop development there, so that
inspires the people to focus on the problems most would            for the financial manager.
                                                                                                                                    project is at a standstill.”
rather ignore.”                                                       The final example was of a complacent but enthusiastic
   Edgar Pieterse, Director of the African Centre for Cities       municipal manager who over-focused on long-term                     “We have huge infrastructural
at the University of Cape Town, agreed, pointing out that          strategies while assuming all was well back at the office.       backlogs and issues with money,
local government leaders needed to have confidence in their        When auditors informed her that fraud was on the increase        but we have lobbied to the
abilities and emotional maturity if they were to successfully      the team advised her to get back to the office and pay           provincial government to assist
drive the teams charged with delivering services to South          attention to basics.
                                                                                                                                    us,” he continued.
Africa’s people.                                                      Western Cape Department of Local Government and
   “The formula for good leadership is to ensure you have          Housing HoD, Shanaaz Majiet summed up the workshops                 Professor of Law at the
the competencies around you to get the job done, an ability        saying how wonderful it would be to have the combined            University of the Western Cape,
to build integrity within your organisation and innovation         wisdom of all those who worked through the workshop              Jaap de Visser is optimistic about
which enables you to navigate through difficult problems.”         problems to help solve day-today problems in local               the GSS conference.
   Pieterse said local government leaders attending the            governments.
                                                                                                                                       “I think it’s an excellent event,”
conference workshops had tended towards a “technocratic               “Maybe then being the leader would not always have to
response” and needed to make more of “adaptive challenges”         be so lonely.”                                                   he said.
        Emulating the moral
       choices of true leaders
         hose fabulously colourful shirts and that       directed from behind.”                                    presentation entitled “Leadership and ethics – Lessons
         famous soft-shoe shuffle may be nowhere            However, Maharaj was quick to point out                from the business sector”, Survé used the true story of
         in sight but the legacy of Madiba still         that great leaders have the ability to sum up the         a group of American businessmen, who spent a great
looms large. As it should, with former President         situation and go against accepted beliefs if it is        deal of money and prepared long and hard to make
Nelson Mandela embodying all the characteristics         called for.                                               an ascent of Mount Everest, but who were faced with
of great leadership, characteristics learners at the        “Remember that Madiba went ahead with                  a difficult moral dilemma when they were halfway.
GSS are striving to emulate as they seek to improve      negotiations with the apartheid government                   “On their way to the top they met a Tibetan holy
their own ability to deliver to the people.              without consulting any of his colleagues,”                man who was clearly in distress and would die if they
   In seeking to tap in to the skills and knowledge of   explained Maharaj. “                                      did not help him,” Survé told a captivated audience.
past leaders, many former struggle and government           He believed that if he did inform them of                 “They had to make a moral decision, do they leave
stalwarts were invited to speak of their experiences     his intentions that they would veto him. In this          him there and carry on, after all they had spent so
of leadership – and almost without fail they end         instance he was the nimble sheep leaping ahead            much money and prepared for this for so long, or do
up either quoting the great man or speaking of           of the flock because that is what the situation           they take him down.”
his ability to resolve what seemed to be the most        demanded.                                                    After much discussion the businessmen decided to
intractable problems.                                       “He also realised that as a leader you sometimes       leave the holy man they reasoned that anyone on the
   Mac Maharaj, the first Minister of Transport          have to take actions that are unpopular or actions        mountain should know the risk. They made it to the
in the new democratic South Africa, was no               whose results will only be known years later.             top of Everest and on the descent looked for the holy
exception, capturing the imagination of even the            And Madiba always was ready to accept the              man but he was gone.
most fatigued learner with his tales of life behind      responsibility of those actions.”                            “The question is, did they do the right thing? And,
bars on Robben Island with Madiba                                     While much of the discussion                 what would you do in a similar situation?” he asked
and other legendary leaders                                           was taken up with anecdotes both             delegates. After some mumbling from the audience
such as Albert Sisulu.                                                      touching and hilarious, Maharaj        Survé delivered his curve ball. “The leader of that
   In attempting to                                                            perhaps inspired learners           expedition regretted his decision to walk away from
explain why Madiba                                                              most out of all the speakers       that holy man.
is such a great                                                                   today, ending his talk by           “The businessmen were all good men but, when
leader, Maharaj                                                                    admitting that while “there     they were faced with one of the big moral decisions
quoted an axiom                                                                    are no more Mandelas or         of their lives, did they do the right thing?”
his old friend                                                                    Sisulus, there is a Mandela,        The point was, he said, that leadership often
learnt from the                                                                   there is a Sisulu in each one    produced numerous dilemmas that needed a multi-
chief of his Xhosa                                                                 of you.”                        dimensional response. His advice to his audience:
tribe; an axiom                                                                         The theme of the good      “when faced with difficult decisions stay close to your
Madiba       often                                                                    within each person was       moral centre.”
quoted himself                                                                        continued by Iqbal Survé,       In his presentation Survé talked about the conflicts
when explaining                                                                       CEO and Chairman of          created by a free-market economy especially in a
what        makes                                                                    the Sekunjalo Investment      country like South Africa where “the poor were
someone a good                                                                      Group and South Africa’s       getting poorer and the rich richer.”
leader:                                                                            2007 Businessman of the            Black businessmen need to find new role models
   “A leader is like                                                               Year when he addressed          that reflected their history, he said. To model
a shepherd; he stays                                                             delegates.                        themselves on existing business was to lose sight of
behind the flock,                                                                Every person is essentially       their “moral centre” as apartheid-era businesses did
allowing the nimble sheep                                                    good but life is complex and one’s    not invest in human capital and did not, necessarily,
to leap ahead thinking they                                                value system can be compromised         share their value system.
are leading the flock while                                                   by a multitude of different             “It is not a sin to make money but it is important
all the while they                                                                     factors, he said.           to do it in an honourable way.”
are being                                                                                           In       his      Survé said there would always be tension between
                                                                                                                   South Africa’s government and business as the one
                                                                                                                     existed to: “change society, help the needy with a
                                                                                                                             strong sense of commitment and sacrifice,”
                                                                                                                                while the other was there to make money.
                                                                                                                                    South Africa was exceptional in that
                                                                                                                                   there was a strong friendship between
                                                                                                                                    black business and government
                                                                                                                                     because of their shared experience and
                                                                                                                                      a joint desire to redress imbalances
                                                                                                                                       of the past and change the legacy of
                                                                                                                                        the country.
                                                                                                                                            Survé said he was guided by a
                                                                                                                                         simple philosophy; “Do good and
                                                                                                                                          do well; use shared experience that
                                                                                                                                           recognises common objectives
                                                                                                                                            and, whatever method of
                                                                                                                                            delivery you use, ensure that
IN FINE FORM: Mac Maharaj captured the imagination of                                                                                        the ordinary people do well.”
everyone in his capacity audience
 A glimpse into the
                                                                                                                                                            VOX POP

    future of SA
      outh Africa’s policy makers need to take heed this would happen in 2015 but others said the
      of future-based research to plan for different halfway mark had already been passed.
      scenarios and avoid costly catastrophes like the    Very worrying for South Africa was the growing
country’s current power crisis.                        income inequality between rich and poor countries
                                                                                                                               INSPIRED: Fundiswa Gxabuza
   Harry Dugmore, from the South African with a large part of the world’s wealth concentrated
Presidency’s Policy Co-ordination
and Advisory Services, said too
often research was ignored and no
                                                                          among a handful of rich people
                                                                          in the US.
                                                                             “The top 10% of the US
plans put in place for inevitable
   Dugmore introduced delegates
                                                                          population own as much as 43%
                                                                          of the rest of the world.”
                                                                             Even in South Africa the
to the Presidency’s “Scenario
Planning for 2025” which is to be
                                                                          wealth gap was widening – not
                                                                          between race groups but between                         is essential
released in July this year.                                               the middle class and the poor.
   He drew attention to the
current electricity crisis saying it
                                                                             “Poverty is a huge factor for
                                                                          our country with 45% of our                          M     ost municipalities in the three partner
                                                                                                                                     departments of the Western, Northern
                                                                                                                               and Eastern Cape face similar challenges.
would have been easy to predict                                           people living on less than R3000
when placed alongside the                                                 a year.” Social welfare grants had                   These include a backlog in housing, a lack of
country’s economic growth.                                                alleviated suffering for many but                    funding and poor infrastructure and service
                                                                                                                               delivery. Most were unanimous in agreeing
   “Sooner or later the lines were                                        did not include the unemployed.
                                                                                                                               that more support from central government
going to cross,” he said.                                                    Dugmore also drew attention
                                                                                                                               is needed, along with support from other
   Dugmore said current scenario                                          to South Africa’s low literacy levels                institutions to provide financial aid.
planning was showing that there                                           saying that if more was done for                        It is for these reasons that Dean O’Neill
would be a “seismic shift” in the WARNING: Harry Dugmore                  primary education, high school                       from Matzikama Municipality believes that
world economic power in coming                                            and university education would                       the GSS is “essential.”
years with China and India rapidly coming up take care of themselves.                                                             “It’s a great platform for local government
behind the United States of America in terms of           In a follow-up presentation Edgar Pieterse,                          from different provinces to share best
growth.                                                Director of the African Centre for Cities at the                        practice,” he said. “We may be based in
   On the oil crisis, he said, the current high prices University of Cape Town, said South Africa was                          different provinces, but we face the same
had surprised even scenario planners, and looked set walking a fine line between growth, redistribution,                       problems and it will be interesting to see how
to worsen.                                             equity and sustainability.                                              each of us will address these problems.”
                                                                                                                                  Furthermore, O’Neill said that politics in
   “There is no oil to sell. Do you not think that, at    Government leaders had to make “hard choices”
                                                                                                                               the Western Cape was the biggest challenge
these prices, Saudi Arabia would not be pumping in the types of interventions they wanted to make                              the municipality faces. “In the Western
more oil if it could? The truth is there is nothing to in communities so that they would have maximum                          Cape we have a coalition government of the
pump, supplies are dwindling.”                         impact.                                                                 ID, DA and an independent councillor, but
   Dugmore introduced the delegates to the concept        “ Our leaders need to do their homework on                           the ANC has the most seats,” he explained.
of “peak oil”, which was when the world’s finite oil issues they feel unsure about and identify points of                      “So, you’re not just doing your work in the
supply was half gone. He said scientists predicted energy among business and communities.”                                     municipality, but also managing politics.”
                                                                                                                                  Additionally, he reinforced that funding

          Inspiration on the big screen                                                                                        is a huge problem, especially with housing
                                                                                                                               and services from central government. “You
                                                                                                                               try to do what you can,” he said, “but there

T     he documantary films shown to         Curitiba in Brazil needed solutions   Than Just a Game”, from producer             is a backlog.”
      GSS delegates were more than      to the usual major problems facing        Anant Singh and featuring, among                Bongani Salman from Elundini Municipality
                                                                                                                               in the Eastern Cape believes the GSS is a
just good entertainment. Chosen for     a large city. A limited budget forced     others, actor Presley Chweneyagae
                                                                                                                               “good initiative and informative.”
their demonstration of how solutions    innovative and also environmentally       from the award-winning drama
                                                                                                                                  “The critical issue now,” he declared, “is
to seemingly intractable problems can   friendly solutions.                       “Tsotsi”, was a hit with delegates           how we will assist the Western Cape, to
be found, the two films showed very         What emerged was an effective bus     who showed their appreciation with           which a lot of people are migrating. There is
different examples of good leader-      system that rivals underground trains     a standing ovation as the end credits        also a lot of unemployment in the area, but
ship.                                   for efficiency, a pioneering recycling    rolled.                                      we are working on solutions together.”
    A Convenient Truth: Urban So-       scheme that also cleaned up the city         It was an ovation richly deserved:           Cornelius Ovies from the West Coast
lutions from Curitiba, Brazil was a     by paying people for collecting trash,    although lacking the slick technical         District Municipality says that with so many
heartening documentary focusing on      ample housing and jobs for people on      prowess of Hollywood documentary             strategies and policies in place, it is often
the innovative, even radical, urban     low incomes and a solution to flood-      productions, it was a film that              difficult for municipal leaders to do what
environmental solutions from a bus-     ing that also created beautiful park      touched both the heart and the               they want to do. “Even though municipalities
tling city in Brazil.                   areas.                                    funny bone in surprising ways.               may have some good ideas,” he clarified,
                                                                                                                               “Legislation and politicians often keep these
    Most environmental documen-             It may all sound too good to be          Using a combination of
                                                                                                                               ideas from being implemented.”
taries run along the lines of, “you     true but those who put their faith in     documentary interviews, dramatic
                                                                                                                                  Fundiswa Gxabuza from the Department
thought the world was bad? Well,        their city leaders were handsomely        re-enactment and historical footage,         of Local Government and Housing in the
actually it’s far worse...”.            rewarded.                                 the film tells the story of five prisoners   Western Cape enjoyed the studies on
    Not so with this documentary            The other documentary showed a        who formed the Makana Football               leadership presented by Professor Brian
- how refreshing that a film offers     significant yet largely unknown part      Association, and how playing the             O’Connell on the first day. “It taught us all
practical solutions from a real-life,   of South Africa’s past: the history of    game helped them “escape” from the           what a bad leader is about,” she said. “It will
large-scale example rather than just    football on Robben Island.                hellish conditions in which they were        be interesting to come to the next Summer
showing the problems.                       A special preview of the film “More   incarcerated.                                School to see how far we’ve come.”
          It’s all about harnessing
             the powers of others
           fascinating look at how the Indian city
           of Mumbai tackled its low-income
           housing crisis through vibrant and
equal partnerships with the communities
directly affected was the focus of yesterday
afternoon’s session of the Governance Summer
School (GSS) for local government leaders,
underway in Somerset West.
   Over the past week learners have all heard
how to better their leadership skills and
among the many recurring themes has been
one of direct community involvement, not
just as direct beneficiaries of policies and
interventions, but as partners in the policy
and intervention design process.
   It was a theme reiterated by Joel Bolnick
of the non-governmental organisation Shack
Dwellers International as he expounded
on lessons to be learnt from the Indian
experience, focusing on two cities that boast
some of the highest population densities on
earth, severe poverty issues and a massive           HIGH DENSITY: Slums in Mumbai
informal settlement population.
                                                     from the richest of the rich to the poorest of         Bolnick also urged patience from all – “there
   “It’s all about harnessing the powers of
                                                     the poor,” explained Bolnick. “And they did so      will be disappointments and successes and
others,” he said. “Data collection is vital – you
                                                     by using the community as real players in the       it will not happen overnight” – saying that
have to know the problem and understand the
                                                     process. It’s a perfect example of the importance   the Mumbai slum dwellers were involved in
problem before you can solve it – and who
                                                     of getting communities properly involved in a       the process for 21 years before they got new
better to collect that data than those who are
                                                     hands-on way in decision-making that directly       housing.
directly affected by the problem.”
                                                     affects them.                                          “The funny thing is that the people who
   Mumbai’s local authorities, faced with a
                                                        “If you don’t involve the community, if          can put up with the long delays are usually
massive low-income relocation and housing
                                                     you simply present them with the solution,          the poor, because they have little or nothing”
crisis, turned to community organisation
                                                     that leads to a sense of entitlement and an         he said. “Those with resources tend to be a lot
National Slum Dweller’s Association (NSDA)
                                                     unfortunate dependence on the state to solve        more impatient.”
for help, engaging the association on a number
                                                     everything. By giving away their problems,             And he concluded with yet another oft-
of issues and co-opting them in to both the data
                                                     communities give away the solutions to those        repeated statement: “as leaders you have
collection and policy design process.
                                                     problems too.”                                      to be able to convince the people to go the
   The city faced the problem of ever-expanding
                                                        One of the main obstacles to getting the         distance.”
slum-dwelling areas, many of which sprung up
                                                     community involved, explained Bolnick, is
around railway line transport hubs and grew
                                                     government’s mistrust of those communities,
so fast and to such an extent that they begun
                                                     a belief that communities cannot manage
encroaching on the railway lines, a danger to
                                                     themselves. It’s a belief, he said, based on a
both railway commuters and the slum-dwellers.
                                                     lack of knowledge.
   But such was the success of the partnership
                                                        “Governments can tend to think that way
that disaster was averted – in Mumbai, with
                                                     because they don’t know the communities they
the NSDA driving the process, authorities
                                                      serve. You have to engage with communities
managed to relocate over 30 000 slum
                                                               to understand who they are. You must
dwellers to new housing,
                                                                               ask the question ‘who
and with a further
                                                                                          are you?’”
70 000 relocations
planned in the near
   “They managed
to transform the city
to the benefit of all
re s i d e n t s ,
                                                                                                         INSPIRED: Joel Bolnick
The time has come to
face challenges head on
        eadership challenges in creating sustainable human settlements and             development you have to tap in to the wealth of knowledge available in those
        services came under the spotlight with a focus on Isidima, the Western         very communities you are developing.”
        Cape’s settlement and housing policy. Learners heard how pro-active,              In his presentation, O’Connell said it was crucial that a leader inspired hope
innovative and, most importantly, fearless leadership would be needed to create        by outlining a future for his followers and working out a practical path to achieve
and steer solutions to highly complex problems.                                        goals.
   Professor Mark Swilling, from the Stellenbosch University’s School of Public           On the issue of providing “alarming perspectives” O’ Connell used a map of the
Management and Planning’s Sustainability Institute, spoke about the various            world, which he adjusted to scale, to highlight which countries
obstacles and complications faced by those tasked with creating sustainable            were doing the most to provide tertiary education, promote
human settlements in an urban environment and pointed out some solutions               science and mathematics education, develop new products
that have made a difference in the Western Cape.                                       and encourage manufacturing. He also showed how Africa
   Swilling was building on a theme developed earlier by Professor Brian               lumbered under the weight of disease while other developing
O’Connell, rector of the University of the Western Cape (UWC). In a provocative        countries had taken proactive steps to deal with problems
presentation, O’Connell declared that South Africa’s leaders have made promises        like malaria, Aids and TB.
they cannot deliver on and the time has come for them to be honest with themselves        It was time for South Africa’s leaders to “make some
and with the people they serve.                                                        difficult choices”, realise “they couldn’t do it all” and
   “A leader’s role is to deal with the truth, face challenges, lead by example and    “give their people a story” which would define who
provide alarming perspectives,” he said, “this means a leader is not always popular    they were and what their priorities would be in the
and pushes the boundaries (of a society’s) comfort zone.”                              future, he said.
   O’Connell said local leaders failed dismally when it came to implementation of         “At UWC we have a motto ‘From hope to action
their policies because they had not thought through the practical implementation       through knowledge’ which sums up the challenge
or long term consequences of their ideas.                                              facing all leaders in our country now,” he explained.
   Swilling gave an example of this thinking in his presentation.                         “Having the right knowledge before taking action
   “Looking specifically at Cape Town,” he explained, “we see that the city            was crucial if a society’s hopes were ever going to be
has for years being sprawling outward in an unsustainable way. When a city             met, he said.
sprawls outward, the strain on infrastructure becomes immense and the cost                Echoing O’Connell’s sentiments Swilling
of transport will increase for those further out from the centre. And it’s an          pointed out that in certain areas municipal
unfortunate fact that it is the poor that bear the brunt of this as they usually       leaders would have to be fearless and willing
live furthest out from the business centres. It’s a problem all cities face but with   to take a hard-line in pushing unpopular
Cape Town surrounded by mountains on one side and the sea on the other, it’s           solutions.
a problem that is even more difficult to tackle.”                                         “Recycling, for example,” he explained.
   Using examples based on his experiences as the former Head of Education in          “This is non-negotiable as far as I am
the Western Cape, O’Connell said there had been insufficient long term planning        concerned. Recycling by-laws need to be
in the introduction of many changes in national education which had left schools       created, passed and enforced – if people don’t
in chaos.                                                                              recycle they must be penalised until they do
   “What our government should have explained to its people was exactly what           and I can tell you that a lot of people will be
resources were available and how they would be distributed,” he said. Instead          very upset at this. But it must be done.
the majority of people expected much more than they were given and could not              “Landfills are not only an eyesore and an
understand why their aspirations were left unmet.                                      environmental hazard, but expensive too.
    O’Connell said it was fear of political unpopularity, especially in the Western    As landfills are moved further out from
Cape, that encouraged leaders to avoid the truth.                                      the city centre, transport of refuse costs
   “When I told schools the truth the majority accepted what I had to say but others   increase as does your energy spend
were angry and in one instances 300 protesters surrounded my home because they         and that is unsustainable.”
didn’t like what they heard,” he said.                                                    He did, however, add a proviso,
   He used the example of the change of curriculum in schools which was, he said,      saying that leaders at all levels need
“a radical response to apartheid education” to highlight the importance of long        to be wary of becoming arrogant
term planning and thinking through consequences.                                       and unapproachable.
   “I phoned Thami Mseleku, (then DG of Education), and asked him if the                  “Yes, our leaders do need to be
national education department was going to provide us with the R40 million             fearless at times, willing to take
needed for new textbooks for the new grades one, two and three curriculum,” he         the less-popular route.
said.                                                                                  But they also need to
   It was clear (from Mseleku’s response) that there had been no thought of new        be open to new ideas
textbooks.                                                                             and input from other
   Swilling highlighted the important impact made by a major shift in housing          sources. There was a
and settlement policy in the Western Cape that has allowed local government            reason God gave
to address a lack of resources and the problems caused by poor planning.               us       two
   “We have moved away from the one size fits all philosophy, recognising that         ears and
different communities have different needs and we need to take cognisance of           only one
that if we are to succeed in creating sustainable settlements,” he said.               mouth…
   “We also decided to take the optimistic approach to see sustainability as well      so       we
as financial challenges as an opportunity to allow for innovation in planning          can listen
and management rather than as an obstacle to settlement creation.                      twice as
   “Most important was the decision to actively and constructively engage              much as
with the city’s residents and communities. To successfully create sustainable          we talk.”
              Working together is
              the key to success
            ne of South Africa’s                                                                                           have had some notable success in
            most embattled local                                                                                           rehabilitating the city. And we managed
            municipalities,          the                                                                                   to do all this because there was a focus
Mnquma Local Council, in the                                                                                               on leadership from the top down. Our
Eastern Cape has pulled its socks up                                                                                       projects had mayoral priority and, very
and, at last, has structures in place to                                                                                   significantly, local government led the
begin providing services to its people.                                                                                    process of regeneration.”
   In his presentation, Fundile                                                                                               Key to the JDA’s success, Reid
Feketshane, officer manager for                                                                                            explained, was the building of strong
the Mnquma Municipal Council,                                                                                              partnerships between the agency, local
described how political infighting and                                                                                     government and key stakeholders,
incompetence by officials had led to                                                                                       such as inner city business as well as
the complete collapse of the Eastern                                                                                       the informal business sector.
Cape’s fifth largest local municipality.                                                                                      “For example, we got the taxi
   “There was abuse of municipal                                                                                           industry and informal traders involved
assets, political interference in the                                                                                      in the plan to build more and better taxi
                                           DETERMINED: Phila Xusa and Graeme Reid
administration, a high staff turnover                                                                                      ranks and open-air markets. Not just
and a total disregard for policies and                                                                                     through consultation but by actually
processes,” he said.                                  Mossel Bay, Uniondale, Haarlem, Riversdale,             getting them to work on the design projects. It was
   But now the Mnquma Local Municipalityis an Heidelberg and Oudtshoorn. In response to                       a simple, but at the same time, radical change to
example of a South African success story.             these natural catastrophes a District Disaster          our approach and it worked superbly.
   Feketshane described how, through political will Management Centre is being built and is expected             “By getting those stakeholders involved not only
and firm leadership by the provincial government to be completed later this year. More consideration          did we build the best ranks and markets, but we did
and the Amathole District Municipality, Mnqume also needed to be given to spatial development                 so with the minimum of fuss.”
was able to elect a new mayor, speaker and chief whip planning with the district municipality enforcing          While the JDA is an urban-based agency,
and craft, from scratch, a new local authority.       respect for estuaries and high-risk areas.              the Amathole Economic Development Agency
   “Most important, our new leadership had to            Hendry Christians, manager of infrastructure for     (AEDA) is a largely rural organisation, focused
instil discipline in council and introduce internal the Department of Local Government and Housing            on stimulating and regenerating the small town
controls,” he said.                                   in the Northern Cape, spoke about the importance        economies in the area of the Eastern Cape centred
   One way of instilling discipline and commitment of maintaining infrastructure.                             around East London and Port Elizabeth.
from councillors was to deduct money from their          He described how in, one workshop, delegates            But the challenges – and the solutions – facing the
allowances if they did not attend meetings. Auditors donned blue overalls and went out into communities       two agencies are remarkably similar. Though, at 30
were brought in to help sort our financial controls to see how their decisions worked in practise.            months, much younger than the JDA, the AEDA
and stop the rampant thieving and misuse of council      “Anybody who actually has to carry a 25 litre        has already had notable success and spokesperson
assets. Team building workshops consolidated rifts drum filled with water for 200 metres will have            Phila Xuza says it’s all down to smart leadership and
between staff while higher level discussions helped new insight into the impact of the decisions we take      powerful and successful partnerships.
towards resolving leadership tensions.                on behalf of our communities.”                             “The AEDA focuses on those towns usually
   Over the last year the new council and its            The potency of partnerships and the                  forgotten and because we work across a number
administration have worked hard to build consequence of consultation in fulfilling leadership                 of municipalities,” she explained. “It is imperative
partnerships with the nearby Walter Sisulu responsibilities was clear in other presentations as               that we not only have strong leadership from within
University, big business, other municipalities and well, as learners were reminded again and again            the agency – which we are blessed with – but from
economic development agencies. Political instability about the importance of strong and focused               those above us and we got it in the form of excellent
in the area meant factories had closed and jobs lost leadership. An example was in the way that strong        political and financial support.”
but efforts are now being made to resuscitate the municipal leadership enabled two very different                From a miniscule starting budget of R800 000
local economy.                                        development agencies to fulfil their mandates with      in 2005, the AEDA now works with a budget
   “The change was stimulated through political as little fuss as possible.                                   of R300 million, and from a stuttering start, the
will and an understanding, by local leaders, that        Speaking on behalf of the Johannesburg               agency is now in full swing creating and managing
they had a responsibility to their people,” said Development Agency (JDA), the first development              a multitude of projects across the province.
Feketshane.                                           agency created in South Africa, in 2001, former            “Strong leadership aside,” said Xuza, “a major
   In a presentation for the Eden District CEO Graeme Reid paid tribute to the municipal                      factor in our growing success has been the good
Municipality, Kelvin Vollenhoven, described leadership that drove the JDA’s work in restoring a               communication between all stakeholders. We place
how the local authority has had to cope with an declining Johannesburg to its former glory.                   a priority on mobilising people and keeping them
unprecedented series of natural disasters over the       “When the JDA was created, Johannesburg was,         informed.
last few years culminating in killer floods last quite frankly, a mess,” he said. “The inner city was            “It’s been said often but we must always
November.                                             in tatters and there was a serious lack of investment   remember that we are servants of the people and
   Damage to infrastructure and loss of services had across the board, a direct consequence of the failure    you cannot serve people without keeping them
been widespread in the area under the jurisdiction of local authority decision making. It was a failure       properly informed.
of the district municipality which serves Knysna, of the municipal leadership of the time.                       “Debate is vital,” she concluded. “Talk to each
George, Plettenberg Bay, Calitzdorp, Ladismith,          “However, since the JDA was established we           other!”
                Navigating through the
                muddy waters of power
       ocal government in South Africa was          government departments.                            something far bigger.”
       being held up by an attitude of “if it’s        The way forward for local government was          Following on this she said hard choices were
       broke, don’t fix it” with a tendency to      to identify key individuals who could navigate     made easier when leaders stayed close to their
construct a new structure every time local          their way through “the muddy waters” and           moral centre.
government came up against a problem. In            use fiscal resources to reward appropriate           Sibisi talked about the importance of
practise this meant talk-shops were standing        behaviours and outcomes.                           local economic development and how
in the way of real action.                             “We have to harness people power and            local government needed to work out its
  Sinazo Sibisi, from the Development Bank          build relationships,” she said, “the long view     responsibilities in terms of stimulating
of South Africa, worked hard to drive home          is critical as there is no quick fix (to local     economies in the areas they served.
this message to municipal leaders.                  government problems). We have to find                The history of the country and the transition
   “Too often the response to a problem is to       comfort in complexity.”                            of political but not economic power mean
set up a parallel structure rather that working        It was crucial for local government leaders     that the majority of people were still looking
through a process to resolve the issue,” Sibisi     to identify the links between their different      to the government to create the platform for
said, “Aren’t we simply extending our lack of       priorities.                                        their economic success.
capacity to another institution?”                      They also had to confront hard choices and        “The question for us is how do we give
  This was one of the major leadership              build the political will to make trade-offs.       people alternatives?” she said.
challenges facing the country along with               Sibisi reiterated what University of the          Her view was the local governments needed
increasing centralization of governance because     Western Cape rector Brian o’Connell said           to focus on creating enabling environments for
of lack of capacity on the ground. This was         earlier in the week; “We have to say to people     economic growth, which would shift the locus
made worse by a lack of co-ordination within        – this is what is possible, even if they desire    of control from the state to the individual.

  Rasool calls for humility and honesty
       great leader must act with enough confidence to leave a legacy         the end it was she who was the most honest.”
       but, at the same time, always remain humble remembering                   Then there is Othello who eventually became totally paranoid
       his position is uncertain and that he could be replaced at any         because of all the stories people put in his head, said Rasool.
time.                                                                            “If I was to become paranoid based on all the stories people told me
   Western Cape premier Ebrahim Rasool made these remarks during              I would be fighting some huge battles in the Western Cape.”
his ‘On the Couch’ interview with E-TV news reporter Lukhanyo                    Rasool said he was also deeply inspired by the old liberation leaders
Calato.                                                                       like Oliver Tambo who kept alive a vision of a free South Africa that
   “Never treat a leadership position as permanent,” Rasool told a            “superseded the contests going on below him. He never
captivated audience, “always retain humility and understand that              forgot that the struggle was bigger than any one
someone came before you and someone will come after you.”                     individual.”
   The premier, who lives with his family on the luxurious Leeuwenhof            When asked what his goal was for the Western Cape,
Estate in the centre of Cape Town, said he regularly drove past his           Rasool said it was to unite the province’s people.
“real” home and constantly reminded his children that the “black car             “There are fault lines in the Western
belongs to the government and the red car is ours.”                           Cape where the
   “If you want the freedom to be who you are and to be honest in             demographics
politics then you have to adjust your lifestyle so that you don’t have too    and       differences
much to lose,” he explained.                                                  are played on by
   He said he had arrived at this conclusion at a time in his life when his   opportunists with
political future seemed insecure and he was concerned of the impact           the intention of
this could have on his family.                                                creating         deep
   “I am not sure I have resolved the dilemma,” he said, “but I am            divisions.”
grappling with it.”                                                              The talk drove
   When asked who inspired him, Rasool said he had been fortunate             home the message
enough to study English literature at university and it was the heroes        that it was “an
of Shakespeare’s great tragedies who had taught him the most valuable         enormous honour”
leadership lessons of his life.                                               to be a leader in
   “I sometimes wonder if I am too much like Hamlet. Too much                 South Africa and
caution can lead to indecisiveness. Remember his speech…To be or              that it was a role
not to be?”                                                                   that should be
   “One doesn’t want to fall like King Lear,” said Rasool, who explained      conducted        with
how Lear was taken in by his daughters who flattered him but who              discretion        and
ignored the one who told him she loved him “as meat loves salt. ” “In         grace.
                   Somerset West
We, the delegates of municipalities and provincial government in the
Western, Eastern and Northern Cape gathered here in Somerset West from
24-28 March 2008, as both elected representatives and appointed public
officials, acknowledge the sacred trust that has been placed in us by the
people of our locality and our country and commit ourselves to serving the
public good with integrity, responsibility, transparency, enthusiasm and
In acknowledging the advances and achievements made in improving the
lives of people, we note that our society remains marked by the intolerable
scars of separate and uneven development, economic exclusion and social
divisions and that it is incumbent upon us as leaders within government to
use this privilege to accelerate delivery and development to the best of our
We acknowledge that the ability of any society to address such challenges in a
sustainable manner is strongly influenced by the quality and commitment of its
leadership. We further note the sterling and inspiring examples of leadership
which led us out of apartheid into democracy and who continue to serve as role
models for us.

We therefore commit ourselves to build our individual and collective
leadership capabilities and the capability of those with whom we work. To
this end, we undertake:
 To be role models for an inspirational and visionary leadership based on
    ethical principles;
 To take on our roles and responsibilities with resilience, courage and
 To identify and prioritise the key challenges facing us and to fearlessly
    tackle them collaboratively in order for them to make the greatest impact
    on enhancing the life of current and future generations;
 To behave in a manner that is responsive and accountable to our peers,
    our organisations and our communities;
 To work with our colleagues and our staff in a manner that builds their
    capacity and enables them to execute their responsibilities effectively
    and with commitment; and
 To pursue ongoing learning, reflection and exchange of best practice with
    the aim of improving our leadership qualities and abilities.

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